The annual campaign against Christmas

These people love the idea that they're bravely resisting some sort of cultural tyranny
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The Independent Online

Historians in the future may conclude that in 2003 there was no Christmas. Because following Tessa Jowell's Christmas cards that didn't mention Christmas, there were dozens of newspaper columns like the one in the Daily Mail that ended: "If Tessa Jowell had her way, people like me would be frog-marched into political correctness camps to be debriefed and cured of patriotism and Christian beliefs."

After that, the others tried to trump it. Surrounded by fag-butts and empty coffee cups, columnists sent off stuff like: "I hear the latest scheme of PC fascists is to replace carol services with the Archbishop of Canterbury singing 'Set fire to a manger' in the hope that this will be more acceptable to the devil-worshipping community."

Countless radio shows over the past two weeks have been devoted to the subject of the town hall in Buckinghamshire that refused to put up a poster advertising a carol service. I heard one London phone-in presenter yell for a whole hour: "Who do these do-gooders assume is offended by Christmas? I want to know." So first of all you have to feel sorry for the poor family that has to put up with these phone-in tosspots at Christmas. They must spend the whole day screaming: "Why isn't dinner ready until three? We used to have it at two - or wasn't that good enough? Terry, Dave, what are your views, tell us what you think."

But the main point is - there is no campaign against Christmas. Tessa Jowell's infamous Christmas card didn't say "Bollocks to Christmas" or "Why should I celebrate Christ's birthday, he never bloody well gets me anything?" It said "Season's greetings".

And the business with the carol service involved one poster in one window. Do these people investigate every poster on every municipal building with the same tenacity? Maybe the right-wing papers will soon be full of columns that begin "So - Wednesday's aerobics class at St. David's church hall in Oswestry was due to start at 7.30, was it? I think not. For my sources tell me it didn't start until ten to eight. Excuse me if it isn't politically correct to say so but I was brought up to believe half-past-seven meant half-past-seven. But I suppose nowadays it can mean any time you like as a concession to gays and asylum-seekers."

Because these people love the idea that they're bravely resisting some sort of cultural tyranny; that if they wish someone a happy Christmas that makes them Anne bloody Frank. They're like stroppy teenagers forever grumbling that they're being put upon. They've had 25 years of privatising, warmongering governments, but still scream: "I can't even publicise a carol service in High Wycombe. It's worse than living in Communist China, I'm not allowed to do anything."

One writer in The Sun, who made a whole column out of the carol service story, seems to spend his entire existence complaining about living under a PC dictatorship. But I heard the same man hosting a football programme, in which there was a discussion about an American goalkeeper who was having difficulty getting a work permit. So the Sun man quipped: "And yet if he was an asylum seeker he'd get a job, a house and anything he wanted." I presume that for balance, the following week the commentator said: "The Arsenal defence has been as solid as ever, and it's impossible to escape the conclusion that if the working-class demonstrated a similar conscious and collective will, it could transform society for the benefit of humanity. Is that how you see it, Trevor?"

I've no idea why the carol service poster wasn't stuck up, but it hardly represents a campaign of de-Christianisation. I wonder what a priest in a Stalinist gulag would say if you said "we had to rely on the local paper to publicise our carols this year - and you think you've got problems".

And as for whether you say "happy Christmas" or "season's greetings", isn't this missing the main issue? For example, a Catholic can say what they like to an atheist, but they still think they're heading for eternal damnation. If I was up to my neck in never-ending molten lava, I wouldn't think it much of a consolation if once a year the Pope popped in to say "happy Christmas".

So carol services should be banned, not because they're religious or offensive, but because they're shite. All these people with gravelled gardens for their Renault Espaces troop along, but God once wiped out virtually the entire planet because he felt let down, so will he be impressed with an annual groan of "God Rest ye merry Gentlemen"?

If there's any truth in the Bible on which the "true" meaning of Christmas is based, we're all stuffed, whatever we put on our Christmas cards. And nothing annoys God more than false worship, so if you live in the High Wycombe area and missed out on the carol service because you get your information from posters on council buildings, whoever banned the advert probably did you a favour.